Hey all! How is everyone?
So we are FINALLY at our road trip post from CA to TX!
Early in the morning of July 1st, we ate some oatmeal in disposable bowls, wiped down our counters one last time, dropped our keys off and then headed out first thing. One spot we never hit while living in CA was the charming little beach town of Capitola, so we made sure to factor it into our road trip.
As soon as we pulled into the city limits we started seeing brightly colored homes with characteristic beach signs on front doors or in windows reading phrases like, “All you need is Love and a Beach” and “This Mermaid swims on Coffee”.
The city itself is surprisingly quite tiny! I always imagined it much larger in my mind- but the polly pocket size of the city added to its charm. We found a parking spot and roamed around the immediate area. We couldn’t go too far from DJ’s truck since we had a bunch of suit cases in the back. **PS. Take note of the cooler sticking out of the back- it’s important for a story later on**
Have you ever seen more zen seals?
Although it was a cloudy day, the colors of the beach homes popped against the somber skies.
After enjoying Capitola and watching a swarm of lifeguards being trained in the water (I can’t imagine how chilly that water was!), we hopped back on the road.
Next up: Palm Desert. We passed by an army of windmills on our way. It reminded me of Courtney’s road trip out– she mentioned how large and alarming they can be- and I totally agree! It’s a weird feeling being under such looming and massive structures that are moving nonetheless. Funnily enough, all I could see were antibodies when I looked at them- Smalls was causing my brain to compare everything to something patho related, lol. Here’s a link to antibodies so you can see what I’m talking about.
We finally arrived to our hotel for the evening! Somehow I got it for an insane deal — compared to everything else around it was one of the more affordable options. When we arrived it turned out it was “villas”, but really was more of a hotel room- it was confusing, but made sense once we actually got in our room. Anyways, the views of the mountains all around were just spectacular. It was HOT though- the idea of what the “desert” feels like was 100% as scorching as it sounds.
We spent a good chunk of time lugging in all our suitcases from the bed of the truck to the room. Once we dropped everything off we headed out to explore the grounds (but we had to be sure to be back in time for Bachelorette, of course 😉 ).
The grounds were so pretty & relaxing! Once we returned from our exploration we decided to just order some room service. I ordered a salad with added avocado (and I had a bunch of hummus to add too that I packed in our Freezer lunch bags for our roadtrip) and DJ opted for their chicken sandwich with the truffle fries that I kept stealing, naturally.
We watched The Bachelorette and enjoyed our food. I love travel nights like this. It reminded me of time we were in NYC and made sure to be back to the hotel in time for Bach. Now, if I was in NYC these days I don’t think I could sacrifice a second of exploring the city for any show (yes, even Bach!), but since we were there wasn’t too much going on around us that evening we didn’t feel like we were missing out.
That evening was rough when it came to sleep- there was this LOUD whirring noise that even kept DJ up (who can sleep through anything)… we ended up calling maintenance at around 12:30 am when we resolved we probably wouldn’t be able to sleep. They came by and basically said there was nothing they could do at the time- it was in the pipes above us. I put on my noise-cancelling headphones to try to sleep. DJ finally fell asleep, but I tossed and turned the whole night and had a gnawing pain in the side of my head the next day from where they dug into my head. Then, our toilet stopped flushing unless we pressed the flush with the strength of Samson or did the lift the lid and pull the chain method. It suddenly all made sense why our room was immensely discounted, haha. Minus the nocturnal hours, the stay was so nice!
When it was finally the morning of July 2nd I decided to shake off the cobwebs with a morning run and a ton of coffee. Really- what would we do without coffee? I was a new person after some endorphins & caffeine.
We ate oatmeal and granola bars we had on us for breakfast and hit the road. Back to spending time with Smalls.
While passing through Phoenix we hopped off the highway- I needed more coffee desperately.
But while on our quest for coffee we were greeted by an awesome surprise. Culver’s! We squealed out of nostalgic joy (DJ would probably argue he did not squeal, but I definitely did). We loved our Culver’s when we lived in Indiana.
DJ ordered a brownie mixer, and I stole a couple bites. Also, if you go to Culver’s you must order their cheese curds too- that’s probably my favorite thing on their menu… my stomach was not feeling 100% otherwise I totally would have loaded up.
Okay okay, still on our coffee quest. Luckily there was a Starbuck’s right across the parking lot!
I ordered my go-to almond milk Misto and grabbed a Siggi’s yogurt for some protein to tie me over that hopefully wouldn’t aggravate my over-tired queasiness. Goodness this yogurt is good! I have seen it sold all over the place, but haven’t tried it- it’s really dang good! I felt better instantly after eating it.
Back to the highway.
New Mexico has a special place in our heart after our experience in Albuquerque on our way to CA from IN.
While driving through New Mexico we saw a road runner statue on the side of the road. It tripped me out, because it looked so realistic at first, but was impossibly gargantuan.
The views driving through at dusk were breathtaking. I had to put Smalls on pause to soak them all up.
And we finally made it to Texas! wooohoooo!
We stayed at the Doubletree in El Paso. When we checked in, we got these complimentary delicious cookies! So fun & a great little touch 🙂
We were so hungry by this point. We ate through all our snacks we had packed in the car and were ready for some real food! We just went to The Fire Restaurant in the hotel since it was pretty late (around 9:30 pm). While waiting for our food we were feeling reflective and talked all about our time in CA and what we were looking forward to in Texas. Special convos <3
DJ ordered one of the greatest pastas we’ve ever tried. It was blackened shrimp penne with mushroom, green chile, sundried tomato and red chile cream. Who would have thought- just out of a hotel restaurant?! We have talked about this dish several times since.. I mean, wow– we were mind blown. I think it was mainly that red chile cream sauce- whatever the heck is in that… I neeeed that recipe.
Even though I ate DJ’s pasta as though it was my own (good thing it was a pretty generous portion), I also ordered the Fire FIT Vegan bowl with hominy cake, cabbage, tomato, onion, green chile, pickled radish, Guajillo broth, and cilantro. This was a phenomenal vegan meal! It had such a unique, wonderful flavor and it didn’t take long to eat every single bite.
After dinner we scurried out to catch the bottom of the 9th of the El Paso Chihuahuas (we just watched through the fence). It was fun to see a different minor league stadium & how they run a show!
I think our little El Paso stint was our favorite part of the road trip. So fun! In the morning of July 3rd we hit the road super early (around 6 am). We stopped in a gas station, and I grabbed some coffee. This was such stinking good gas station coffee- it even had a beautiful layer of crema- like …WHAT?! (the picture below is straight black coffee- not a latte or anything- that is just the quality of the crema!). First a hotel restaurant (not even Italian restaurant) serving the best pasta ever and now a gas station serving insanely good coffee… I am having an existential foodie crisis.
Back to the road… More studying with Smalls & more driving for DJ.
I offered tons of times to drive, but DJ insisted on driving so I could study. He’s the best <3 I made such a dent and felt good about the ground I had covered (mentally, and I guess literally with our move, hehe).
Sooo we did have a little mishap on the highway. Remember how our cooler was just barely sticking out of the bed of our truck? Well, it went FLYING out of the bed when we were on a wide open windy area in Texas.. I mean flying… we were actually warned at the gas station from the cashier that the wind was brutal and to be careful. We didn’t realize it was going to actually pick up our cooler! We only lost a couple items that were of any value (our Ninja bottles were the big thing and just some cheap dishes, along with the cooler itself). Luckily the cooler tumbled off to the side of the road, but we are just just so thankful nobody was behind us on the highway… that could have been real bad. The thought makes me shudder. There was nowhere to turn around to retrieve it, but I’m hoping it wouldn’t cause any issues being off the shoulder.
About 10 minutes before arriving we started seeing gray clouds, ominous harbingers. We crossed our fingers that it wouldn’t start to rain because we had all that luggage in the bed of the truck. But sure enough, while stuck in our first experience of Austin traffic, the rain came down in full force- buckets upon buckets. We were so close…. yet so far..
I will say despite knowing everything was getting soaked in the back I was still excited to see a thunderstorm. We hadn’t seen one in years, and I loveeeee a thunderstorm (at least the mild ones- not the actually dangerous ones, which I hear we may experience often here).
Finally we arrived, got our keys, checked in, and unloaded our sopping wet suitcases. It’s all good though- they aired out pretty well, and it wasn’t an issue. We had never seen our apartment in person (my mom helped scope them out for us when she was in town for business a few months ago). We were immediately excited upon walking in! This is perfect for the stage we’re in right now- annnd everyone was so friendly we interacted with while unloading our truck. I think that was the first thing we noticed here- everyone is so friendly!
After dropping our stuff off, we popped into Trader Joe’s for our first ever Texas grocery trip! It has a parking garage system where you get your ticket comped if you are under an hour- forces me to grocery shop real quick- and y’all know I treat TJ’s like a leisure stroll in the park, so this can be a challenge, hah. Also, you take an elevator to bring your groceries down in the cart. All these little things seemed so confusing at first, but are second nature now!
Alrighty this is quite long so I’ll continue the rest in another post. All in all it was a wonderful, memorable road trip, even with the minor little glitches. Rest in peace, ol’ Igloo Cooler- thanks for helping preserve all our San Francisco leftovers over the years… you were real cool 😉
Questions for you:
- Have you ever lost anything valuable on a road trip/traveling?
- Are you team room service or eat out on the town? Both?
**There is an affiliate link in this post, but all opinions and ideas are my own**